Friday, July 2, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

I just finished reading the last post I wrote, the one about the city lights. It’s been a very long time since I have written in my blog, and I have changed just a little bit since writing that post. I had written that particular post about a month after ending my work at Fort Bowie National Historic Site and moving back to Tucson to be with my wife.

It was kind of a hard transition to move from such a quiet, completely isolated place to (what I perceive as) the buzz of the big city. I had a really hard time adjusting back to big city living. I had to change my shopping habits, (I put three dozen eggs, two gallons of milk, and 15 pound ham in the cart before my wife reminded me that we had walked to the grocery store). I had to readjust to the sounds of the night (instead of rushing out to see if I could catch a glimpse of the fox barking outside my door, I was rushing out to see which of my fellow tenants was being arrested that night), and I had to reorient my internal compass (I could hike across a ridge top, down the hill into the arroyo, up the side of a canyon, pick my way through thickets of mesquite and catclaw, and still be able to make it straight to my truck three miles away like a laser. When I moved to the city I got lost in the Tucson Mall).

I imagine that I was feeling about like Adam when he was cast out from the Garden of Eden. However, over the course of the next few months, I began to realize the wonderful things that the city had to offer.

I loved to go to the library. I went there at least once a week, and found that I could feel some of the same quiet that I had living in Bowie, but with books. I found that trips to the grocery store became kind of introspective; it was a ten minute walk down the road and I could alone because it was not a “trip into town.”

But what was striking to me was how much I enjoyed seeing people around. Throngs of people. I could go anywhere and see people doing people things. Things like playing music, talking to friends, muttering to themselves as they walked down the street, drinking, laughing, and living out their lives. I got to meet some of these people like the Hansens, McHughes, and Smiths, who became dear friends. People like Coke who I became way more familiar with than I ever wanted to be (if anybody in Tucson needs a homeless veteran mechanic who camps out in the park on Limberlost, let me know, because no matter where I go, I’m pretty sure Coke’ll show up at some point and I can put him in touch with you).

I really learned how wonderful it is to live with people, because no matter how loud, obnoxious, or annoying people are, we need each other sometimes. And it sure is a lot nicer to be able to walk across the street to see the Hansens than wait until the next time we make the “town trip” to get to see someone.

We’re back at the fort this summer, and I’m loving it. It rained tonight, and nobody wrecked their car outside my house because of it. In fact, those idiots who can’t drive don’t even live out here. In fact, nobody lives out here. It was just me, my wife and that family of javalinas out there watching the rain. But I do kind of miss old Coke. I’d love to hear him ask me for more money to waste on alcohol. And I’d really love to spot him another $1.67.

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